Graduate Degree in Statistics: Master or PhD

Hi all,

I just want to ask for everyone's opinion on which type of program I should apply to. An upfront disclaimer is that I won't be applying for at least the next two years as I am joining one of the top Economics Consulting firms in June after graduation and intend to stay there for at least two years.

In any case, here are my stats:

School: One of the top liberal arts schools in the US
Major: Mathematics and Economics; Pursuing honors thesis with the Mathematics department. My thesis focus on the statistical analysis of the long memory property in stock volatilities.
Cumulative GPA: 3.94. Major GPA: 4.00

Relevant Coursework in Math:
  • Linear Algebra A+
  • Introduction to Analysis A+
  • Mathematical Statistics A+ (placed out of Probability Theory)
  • Time Series Analysis A+ (Placed out of Intermediate Statistics (Regression Analysis))
  • Mathematical Finance A+
  • Applied DE for Finance A
  • Currently taking Measure Theory (Second Semester Analysis)

Other Coursework in Math:
  • Abstract Algebra A
  • Complex Analysis A+
  • Calculus Classes (1 single variable and 1 multivariable) A+
  • Mathematical Logic A+

Relevant Coursework in Economics:
  • Advanced Econometrics A
  • Dynamic Macroeconomics (essentially Macroeconometrics) A
  • Currently taking Evaluating Social Policy (essentially Microeconometrics)

I haven't taken the GRE yet but plan to do so in early June before I start work. As is probably obvious, my interest lies in the intersection between statistics and finance. What school tier should I aim for? How much chance do you think I will have if I apply for a PhD? I am leaning towards the Master now just because I don't have much academic research experience. In all of my past summers I've been working in various capacities for the investment banks.

Would appreciate any advice & feedback.

Best regards,

Last edited:
Anthony, if your interest lies in the intersection between statistics and finance, may I suggest the new graduate program (master of science) in financial statistics and risk management at Rutgers University (Busch campus in Piscataway, New Jersey, an hour's drive from NYC). It is offered by the Department of Statistics and is oriented in the use of statistical methods and data analysis for banking and financial institutions. Here is a link to their website: